Depending on your age and perhaps, the politics of your local school board, the first time you probably read or heard the phrase, “Big brother is watching” was in the book (or the movie!) by George Orwell called 1984.
In the movie, the citizens were being monitored by the government to keep everyone in their place, under control, and contributing to the greater good of society. Ever since #WFH became a hashtag, this phrase has become ever more relevant.
Almost a year ago, I first blogged about companies monitoring their employees working from home. After reading a recent article about the new ways that managers are monitoring their employees and surveillance software privacy issues, I thought it deserved a second look.
I cringe at the thought of an employer watching me during the day as I work, exercise at my desk and eat my snacks—along with seeing the crumbs dropping or liquids staining my shirt. Or, listening to me and my family members talking about private matters not related to work. In this scenario, the home office is no longer a private space.
According to Top10VPN, surveillance software demand has increased by nearly 60%. Given the likelihood that remote office work is here to stay, what are we—some whom have always worked from home—to do if we are concerned with privacy?
Cover the camera with masking (or other) tape
I have always blocked my computer camera, whether my personal computer or a work device. I don’t always look my best when I’m working, from the angry bird faces I make when something goes wrong, to the attire mishaps already mentioned above. The keystroke monitoring software will track my actual input, so I challenge why my face would need to be visible.
Use headphones with a mute button
Wear headphones when talking to colleagues, vendors and customers during work hours. Mute the headset and leave your workspace when you need to go to speak to someone on your cell phone or in your home. Make sure your private conversations are truly private.
Stay on task
Start and “leave” the office at the required times. Schedule your work and your breaks according to employer/client policy. It is important that to provide the service paid for, no question.
Get a different job/gig
If your client/employer does not respect your privacy, then maybe it’s not the right job or gig for you. Stay skilled up and network to find new opportunities. If you are a skilled professional your work will speak for itself and perhaps the logical consequence is that the monitoring will be deemed unnecessary.
Privacy is not given in the new work environment. Make sure you discuss the requirements before you accept a work offer, and get to know the privacy invasion laws in your state. Protect yourself and your information. Your employer certainly is doing the same!
What are you doing to maintain your privacy in this ever blurred work/personal-home lines? Let’s share ideas!